In winning, ANC draws 62% of vote

May 07, 1994|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,Johannesburg Bureau of The Sun

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- South African President-elect Nelson Mandela said yesterday he was relieved that his African National Congress did not get two-thirds of the vote, since the result will alleviate fears many people have about an ANC government.

The final tally of last week's first all-race election, announced yesterday, gave the ANC 62.65 percent of the vote, far ahead of the second-place 20.39 percent of the ruling National Party headed by state President F. W. de Klerk.

With two-thirds of the vote, the ANC would have been able to write a new constitution for South Africa without the cooperation of any other parties.

Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom Party registered a surprisingly strong 10.5 percent for third place, with the Freedom Front, which seeks a separate white state, in fourth place at 2.2 percent.

The ANC had announced 18 members of the new Cabinet yesterday, but after what Mr. Mandela described as a "horse-trading session" with President de Klerk, he said that some of those appointments might have to change to satisfy the wishes of all parties eligible for Cabinet seats.

Under the country's interim constitution, which sets up a so-called government of national unity, a party gets a Cabinet seat for every 5 percent of the vote it receives. Thus the Cabinet will include members from the ANC, the National Party and Inkatha.

The constitution also calls for two deputy presidents from the two biggest vote-getters, and it was confirmed yesterday that they will be Thabo Mbeki, the ANC's national chairman, and Mr. de Klerk.

Cyril Ramaphosa, the former union official who led the ANC's negotiating team, had been considered the favorite for the deputy president post, but his name was absent from the Cabinet list. The ANC said this was at Mr. Ramaphosa's request.

Among the ANC's tentative appointments, Joe Modise, head of the ANC's liberation army, was named minister of defense; Joe Slovo, head of the South African Communist Party, got housing and welfare; well-known civil rights advocate Dullah Omar was named justice minister; and Ahmed Kathrada, who served in prison with Mr. Mandela, was named to correctional services.

The most notable opening left for the National Party was minister of finance, a position expected to remain in the hands of Derek Keyes, who is popular with the business community. But after yestereday's meeting, Mr. de Klerk made clear that he would like have National Party people in some of the positions that the ANC filled.

It is not known whether Mr. Buthelezi will participate in the Cabinet or simply remain in the new National Assembly. He did give his blessing to the election results yesterday, congratulating Mr. Mandela and appealing "for us to work together to resolve the many difficulties that lie ahead of us."

In all, 19,533,497 votes were cast in South Africa's first democratic, nonracial elections. No one knew exactly how many eligible voters there were, though the number was estimated at 22 million. The ANC's total was 12,237,655. Some 193,081 ballots were disqualified.

The ANC was the biggest vote-getter in seven of the country's nine new regions, losing only KwaZulu/Natal to Inkatha and the Western Cape -- the Cape Town area --to the National Party. However, the ANC fell just short of a majority in the rural Northern Cape and could lose control to a coalition of opposing parties.

Regional parliaments are scheduled to have their first meetings today, while the new 400-seat National Assembly will meet Monday in Cape Town to elect Mr. Mandela as the country's first black president.

Each party gets the same percentage of seats in the Assembly as it got in the election: the ANC 252 seats, the National Party 82, Inkatha 43, the Freedom Front 9, the liberal Democratic Party 7, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) 5 and the African Christian Democratic Party 2.

Both the Democratic Party and the PAC had hoped for much higher vote totals. Yesterday, Zach de Beer, leader of the Democratic Party, resigned, saying that it is time for younger people, who will lead the party into the next election in 1999, to take over.

Johann Kriegler, the judge who heads the Independent Electoral Commission, announced that the national and all nine regional elections were free and fair.

There had been speculation that the vote in KwaZulu/Natal might not get the free-and-fair nod, as widespread irregularities were alleged, especially in rural areas under control of Inkatha authorities.

ANC leaders are thought to have weighed the possibility of a successful challenge to the Inkatha election victory against the probability of a return to the factional violence that has plagued the region before agreeing to accept the results.

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